TAS and OHB for the ESA program Plato
Signed a contract for the detection and observation of exoplanets
Thales Alenia Space (TAS), the joint-company between Thales (67%) and Leonardo (33%), announced today that it has signed a contract with OHB System for the new ESA program PLATO (PLAnetary Transits and Oscillations of stars). OHB System will be the prime contractor with Thales Alenia Space as a partner.
PLATO will be the third medium-class (M3) science mission in ESA’s Cosmic Vision Program, following Solar Orbiter (M1) and Euclid (M2), and preceding Ariel (M4). The satellite will be launched in 2026 for an initial mission length of 4.5 years. The aim of PLATO is to find and study extrasolar planetary systems, especially terrestrial type planets in the habitable zone (compatible with water in the liquid state) around stars similar to our Sun. Unlike the previous missions, CoRot and Kepler, it will offer the ability to carry out stable, wide-field observations of bright stars over a very long period (two to four years), enabling us to detect and characterize planets orbiting slowly around their sun, such as the Earth. It will be placed into orbit around the L2 Lagrangian point, and will carry a scientific payload comprising 26 cameras and the associated electronics.Thales Alenia Space (France and UK) will be in charge of avionics and integration for the service module (SVM). The AOCS (Attitude and Orbit Control System) software proposed for PLATO draws on the expertise and processes developed over the last 20 years and more. TAS offers full expertise in satellite avionics development and testing, from initial equipment specifications to test benches and AIT (assembly, integration, testing). The avionics test bench will be integrated and operated at TAS’s Cannes facility, with teams from Thales Alenia Space in UK also heavily involved. The PLATO Telescopes Optical Units (TOU), funded by Italian Space Agency (ASI), were designed by INAF ((Istituto Nazionale di Astrofisica) and will be built at Leonardo site in Campi Bisenzio in collaboration with the universities of Berna, Thales Alenia Space and Medialario to be delivered for the global integration of the cameras at the OHB Space Center “Optics & Science” in Oberpfaffenhofen near Munich in a special ISO Class 5 clean room.
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